The leading brand in boxing, Everlast, has made a unique choice for their new face of the brand.
Patricio Manuel is the first transgender boxer to compete professionally and is the star of Everlast's "Be First" campaign.
Manuel competed as a woman as a USA National Amateur Boxing Champion and was even invited to the 2012 Olympic trials, but after a devastating shoulder injury, Manuel was sidelined.
While in recovery, Manuel made a life-altering decision to transition from a woman to a man. After a long-fought battle with trainers and the boxing commissions, Manuel eventually was given the chance to fight again. In December 2018, climbed into the ring to fight Hugo Aguilar at the Fantasy Spring Resort Casino in Indio, California -- Manuel emerged victoriously.
“I’m incredibly honored to have been selected to tell my story in Everlast’s Be First campaign,” Manuel tells CNN. “Everlast is such a fixture in the sport and to have such an iconic athletic company recognize me as I am — as a professional boxer who is transgender — is a dream come true.”
Manuel is breaking down barriers unlike most athletes will have to face.
“At a time when transgender people are being questioned whether we have a place in the sporting world or even being recognized by the world at large, for Everlast to endorse me is huge,” Manuel said. “It’s a bold statement and I think it personifies the saying ‘Be First.'”
“I really hope it pushes other companies to think outside the box. This world is so incredibly diverse, we all deserve to have our identities and stories highlighted.”